Citroen has always been a design trailblazer and the striking new C4 Grand Picasso doesn’t disappoint – it’s certainly the coolest looking seven-seater out there.
But is it eye candy or the real deal? I’ve just spent a week with the jumbo MPV and I can assure you it’s the latter, and more than a match for the Ford S-Max, Kia Karens and the Renault Grand Scenic, to name but a few.
Priced from £19,200 to £27,855, I drove the 1.6-litre diesel Exclusive+. Packed with optional extras including park assist, xenon headlights, leather seats and panoramic sunroof with electric sliding blind. Cost? £29,750.
A little longer than its little brother, the five-seater C4 Picasso, it boasts a third row of two seats which can be left up or folded flat for van-like boot space.
And whilst adults can sit on the third row, it would probably be best to reserve them for the smallest members of the family – as was ever the case!
My car came in Shark Grey, and with two strips of headlights and daylight runners below, the front end is simply stunning.
It’s well proportioned and streamlined elsewhere too, but the wow factor is reserved for the front cabin – more like spaceship bridge.
The visibility is breathtaking via a panoramic windscreen and slim pillars, while the Citroen-style centre console boasts two colour display screens and minimal knobs and switches (which is more than can be said for the steering wheel).
The front driver’s seat is electronically adjustable with memory settings – mine even had a massage function.
It’s also fitted with Citroen’s Active Seatbelt Safety System, managing belt tension automatically via little motors. The driver’s belt also gives you a little tug when you stray over a lane marking on motorways to combat drowsiness.
My Grand Picasso was powered by a 1.6 113bhp diesel, capable of 0-60mph in 12.1 seconds and a top speed of 117mph. More importantly, it emits just 98g/km of CO2 and Citroen reckons it’s capable of as much as 74mpg.
Outright performance is academic in a car like this, as is sports car handling.
For the record, the 1.6 diesel is surprisingly gutsy, though there was a slight power lag at lower speeds, while the ride is impressive and you almost forget it’s such a big car. It soaks up the bumps and Citroen has done a great job insulating the cabin from the engine and road noise.
Parking MPVs has always been a challenge, but Citroen has made life slightly easier with bleeping sensors and a rear camera viewed from the centre console screen.
The Grand Picasso is hard to fault, but a Citroen wouldn’t be a Citroen without a few quirks. Chief among them for me is the electric park brake – a large switch at the bottom of the centre console and a tad tricky for my liking. The start/stop button looks classy, but the start procedure involved declutching which took a bit of getting used to. But these are minor issues – forgotten with familiarity.
For me, the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso’s good looks, versatile cabin, refinement and frugal engine set it apart from its rivals. A vroom with a view.